Sunday , 3 December 2023

The 10 Best Places to Retire in Mexico (+275K Views)

Automatically receive the internet’s most informative articles bi-weekly via our free bi-weekly Market Intelligence Report newsletter (sample here). Register in the top right hand corner of this page.

Below is an unbiased look at the best places in Mexico to retire – with real pros and cons – toMexico help you make an informed decision as to which best meets your needs, interests and ambitions.

Prepared by Lorimer Wilson, editor of [Editor’s note: This version of the original article from has been edited ([ ]) and abridged (…) to provide a faster and easier read.]

@$In the process of putting together this comprehensive report I have consulted with highly experienced ex-pats who have lived and/or live in the places that I rate here so, without further wait, here’s the top 10 places to live and retire in Mexico and the reasons why:@Your Finances

  1. Lake Chapala, Jalisco
  2. Ensenada, Baja California
  3. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
  4. Guadalajara, Jalisco
  5. Merida, Yucatan
  6. Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
  7. Mazatlan, Sinaloa
  8. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
  9. La Paz, Baja California
  10. San Cristobal de las Casas Chiapas

1. Lake Chapala, Jalisco (Winner)

@$According to Kristina Morgan of Focus on Mexico, “Of all the places in Mexico I have been, none can quite compare with Lake Chapala. There’s something about this place that just seems…magical and, as corny as it sounds, that’s the word I hear people use to describe Lake Chapala time and again. Lake Chapala gets into your heart and becomes home. It’s like stepping back 50-70 years here regarding the simpler lifestyle, culture and values. When I’m here I feel like I can be me, like I can breathe a little more freely and be the person I want to be and this is a sentiment expressed by most everyone who has ever been here or lives here”.

Lake Chapala used to be just a retirement community but in the last 10 years that’s changed and a lot of younger families and entrepreneurs are moving there for the obvious business opportunities and lower cost of living.

The Lake Chapala community is composed of a string of villages, mostly on the north shore, with Ajijic being the crown jewel of the area in terms of artisans, charm and amenities. Horses clopping down the road, vendors selling fresh fruit, women weaving, live music everywhere from classical to salsa and teenagers helping their grandmothers are common sights. There’s a happy hum of activity there.

The most compelling reasons are listed below.


The Climate: The weather, of course, is a huge draw. National Geographic touts Lake Chapala as the 2nd best climate in the world. The Lake is surrounded by the Sierra Madre Mountains and is a mile high so there is very little humidity. The distance inland is still close to the ocean but far enough away to not have to worry about storms and hurricanes off the coast. We have all the same flora as Hawaii as well as the same vegetation in arid states like Colorado—pines and palms—growing equally well, side by side!

The most-developed expat/English infrastructure in Mexico: You may feel like you’ve stepped back in time, but there’s still a lot to do here, from golfing, to boating, to organized group activities including a community theater in English, two American Legion posts, the Lake Chapala Society, churches in English in every denomination, concerts and events (the Bolshoi Ballet even came to Ajijic!), live entertainment, world-class restaurants that will impress even the most seasoned palate and much more!

Ajijic and the Lake Chapala area is the largest expat community anywhere outside the U.S. and Canada. I figure 20,000 expats can’t be wrong but as Latin World says, “Despite being home to one of the heaviest concentrations of North Americans in Mexico, Lake Chapala doesn’t feel quite as Americanized as other retirement enclaves in Mexico.” I believe that is due to the fact that this isn’t a resort area catering to tourists, but rather a place to adopt a new way of life and be a part of a community.

There are also many real opportunities to get involved and make a difference through any of the numerous charities here if you want to volunteer your time. The rewards are greater than any paycheck.

Affordable, top-notch medical care is available: The University of Guadalajara, less than 1 hour away, boasts an excellent medical school. In fact, many U.S. doctors are educated there! There are excellent facilities, doctors, specialists and medical staff in Mexico and a major benefit is that they are readily available (no long waiting periods). Many of the doctors even speak English and often have taken some training in the United States or abroad. The doctors here have such a gift for listening carefully to you and not making you feel as if they don’t have time to spend with you. They even make house calls! There are two clinics here as well.

Proximity/Accessibility: Guadalajara, airport, coast: One of the reasons we chose Lake Chapala is its easy access to other places of interest in Mexico. Ideally located about 40 minutes from Guadalajara (Mexico’s 2nd largest city), 25 minutes from Guadalajara’s international airport, and as close as 3 hours to the pacific coast and a 12 hour drive to back to the U.S. so it is easy to trade the frigid winters and the wilting heat of summers north of the border for paradise. We wanted to know that they can get back home quickly if we need to so being so close to the airport makes being home in a few hours possible. It is interesting to note that travel is part of the culture in this area, for Mexicans and retirees alike and the low surcharge at the airport in Guadalajara makes flying more affordable.

Low cost of living: I didn’t move to Mexico to spend a lot of money! It has been said that Lake Chapala is the place to be if you want a bargain and all the amenities you’re used to from back home.

Home prices are still low here. I know people who have looked into different retirement destinations all over Mexico and say they have found the best deals here. We also have an MLS, which almost nowhere else in Mexico has so it is easier find the right home for you. On the coast, you must purchase property through a bank trust but because we are inland you are allowed to own property outright through a direct deed….

This is a real community: To me, this is the most compelling reason to come here. People come to Lake Chapala for the weather and lower cost of living and end up staying because of the people. Lake Chapala still has a small-town feel to it. It seems like everyone knows everyone and the people, both Mexican and expats, are very friendly and look out for each other. This area also has the largest singles population owing to the sense of safety and community here. It is said that people are nicer here than they were back home. The Mexicans are still very warm and welcoming, largely due to the fact that most of the transplants are very cognizant that we are guests in their country and we try to be as gracious and considerate as our Mexican friends are. There is still an old-world, genteel flavor here. Mexicans embrace family, customs and tradition and tend to dote on their children and cherish their elderly. The people who come here are frequently in awe of the close ties in our community and how quickly they are welcomed and accepted. I haven’t seen anything like this anywhere else in the world, not even in other places in Mexico.

A safe and secure environment: Despite a rather negative media representation which focuses on drug related violence, Mexico is actually a top choice when it comes to safety. The conflicts which make the headlines are mostly limited to the U.S. border area; the majority of the country is virtually unaffected, and news of these unfortunate events is as distant to these areas as it is to the U.S., and in some cases, even more so. “In Lake Chapala violent crime is almost unheard of,” points out Shawn Gaffney. “In Lake Chapala, the citizens walk the streets at any time of day or night safely and confidently.” Statistics back this feeling of comfort; in most parts of Mexico, violent crime is significantly lower than in large U.S. cities.

Stunning beauty: Lake Chapala has breathtaking sunsets over the lake, and majestic mountain views. Flowers are prolific and seem saturated in bold color. There are charming cobbled streets with stone walls and fuchsia bougainvillea draped like petticoats over the tops. The best way to give you a picture is that people say it looks like Hawaii. The vivid color here is whimsical and artistic, with many murals all over the area, including some that are painted on houses and businesses. There are at least 3 waterfalls in the area and thermal springs that will transport you with their relaxing and curative properties. Sun-drenched terra-cotta tiles, mesmerizing vistas and tropical foliage make it feel like you’re on permanent vacation—but without the heat, humidity, tourists, hurricanes or expense.

Solid investment: When you’re considering a place to retire, no one wants to flush their money into an area where they would have a hard time getting it back out if they ever needed to. This area is at a steady growth rate with promise of more future growth. You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck now while knowing your money will grow here.

Slower pace of life: We can learn so much from the people here about what is truly important in life. For those who are seeking to simplify their lives, Lake Chapala should be on your short-list. This isn’t a “time is money” culture. Mexicans work to live while many of us have lived to work. In general, the people here have their priorities straight. It’s all about how you treat people and recognizing that each day is a gift to be lived fully and graciously.


Altitude: At a mile high, some people who have respiratory illnesses may find this is a little too high in altitude for them. However, some people report feeling far better here and being able to sleep better than they ever could. The elevation is also a major reason we have such a temperate climate and why the area isn’t prone to natural disasters.

Language: If you move to Mexico you’re going to have to learn at least a little of the Spanish language to get by. Some people find this daunting and intimidating. The good news is that compared to anywhere else in Mexico, English is spoken to one degree or another by most people.

Small villages: If you’re looking for a big city feel then Lake Chapala isn’t for you. Think quaint fishing villages with an old world feel and modern amenities and you’ll have the idea. However, village life has its benefits in safety and community and if you need a break from the tranquility and want to head to the big city then Guadalajara is just up the road.

Noise levels: This can be said about any area in Mexico but I still think it needs to be said. Village life is noisy with live music, church bells tolling at all hours, roosters who crow all day and night, fireworks, parades and processions, parties and cars driving by announcing everything from their wares to who has a fresh catch of fish down at the pier. On Mother’s Day, some lucky moms are woken before dawn with mariachi bands serenading them outside their window. If this would drive you crazy, then be sure to look for homes on the outskirts of the villages or in a planned development, or gated community. Thankfully, there are a lot of places to choose from to escape the noise.

Not a Business Mecca: For those young and aggressive, they will be disappointed because the Lake Chapala area is NOT a mecca for business. Business gets done but for the most part, retiree’s are slower more set in their ways and thus are not seeking big opportunities so trying to sell them something using a carrot for the future can be frustrating and will land you in the “con man” category real quick.

It is not the ocean: Lake Chapala is Mexico’s largest lake at 77 miles long and 13 miles across but if your heart is set on a daily routine of drinking a margarita on the beach with endless waves stretching out to the horizon then this isn’t for you. While this is the largest lake in Mexico and the conquistadores thought this was the ocean when they first arrived here, it is still a lake – a beautiful lake.

In short, Lake Chapala is a one in a million place with everything it offers. Of course, one size doesn’t fit all but if you’re looking for a paradise with a low-cost of living, an established English infrastructure and activities, modern amenities, near-perfect climate and a friendly and safe community, come visit Lake Chapala and see if this might be for you. Retiring in Mexico couldn’t be better.

2. Ensenada, Baja California

@$According to John Vogel of, “In Ensenada, you have everything that a major city could have but it’s still a small family town” The weather is very temperate between 60 to 80 F mostly all year round. It’s never too hot or too cold in Ensenada as it’s on the Pacific coast in a bay so it’s somewhat shielded by direct ocean winds. For expats, it’s an easy transition because Ensenada is really half Southern California half Mexico. Most speak English as the border is just 1 hour away. So travel back and forth is relatively easy. It’s a major benefit for those that want to live an Mexico lifestyle but still get the San Diego Chargers game every NFL Sunday for a little tailgating.


  • Close to US Border
  • Easy going beach weather
  • Inexpensive
  • Very little rain fall
  • Family friendly city
  • All kinds of events held almost every weekend


  • Airport is in Tijuana about 1 hour away and San Diego International Airport is about 1 hour and 30 minutes away by car albeit, there is a border crossing that could take from 1 to 3 hours depending on time of day.
  • Anti-septic Mexican culture meaning that the culture in Baja is more close to the USA culture as it’s a mixed culture. If you’re looking for authentic rustic old Mexico, Ensenada is NOT the place to be. This is San Diego South and the people of Baja are a hybrid of Mexico and USA.
  • You must have a car to get around.

3. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato

@$According to Rebecca Fass San Miguel de Allende is “the most wonderful place on the planet”. This place is probably the most well-to-do city in all of Mexico. With world-class arts, music, and amazing restaurants with the highest end people from all over the world, SMDA is the most exquisite classy place to live in Mexico. So if you’re looking to hob-nob with the rich, famous, artsy types, and people who really hold their own at the highest levels, SMDA is the place to be.

Klaudia Oliver says “I can´t speak for that many places in Mexico but I can certainly suggest that San Miguel is THE top destination. Why? Because there is an overriding sense of well-being which permeates the inhabitants of this beautiful colonial town. There is a swirl of social events and it’s like a college campus for baby boomers with cultural and social activities constantly”.


  • Amazing cultural beauty
  • Old Mexico meets the well-heeled traveler
  • Small town full of super interesting internationally renown people who you will get to know quickly
  • English spoken everywhere
  • 3 hours away from Mexico City and all it’s available big city offerings
  • Friendly small town atmosphere
  • Beautiful architecture and history.
  • Excellent nightlife


  • Not close to major city or airport
  • High desert elevation means it’s cold in winter and hot in summer
  • Extreme temperatures mean that in one day can go from high 80′s at high noon and then into the 40′s at night.
  • Very expensive to live.
  • Feels like living on a desert island since there is nothing within an hour away.
  • Nearest airport is in the City of Leon; about an hour and a half away.

4. Guadalajara, Jalisco

@$The weather is amazing; Perfect really! Guadalajara is the 2nd largest city in Mexico so if you are used to living in the city, then you will enjoy Guadalajara as it is the very best big city in Mexico. Guadalajara is not as inexpensive as it used to be but you can still find bargains if you look hard.

5. Merida, Yucatan

An old colonial city in the heart of the Yucatan jungle. It is very hot and humid mostly all year round and so you must love warm to hot weather to enjoy Merida. Amenities are excellent. According to resident expatriate, Randy Miller, “Progresso, our closest beach, is a fabulous place to swim. It’s only a short 20 minute drive from the house. There are so many things to do here; art, markets, museums, theater and so much more”.

Merida is about a 4 hour bus ride from the major resorts of Cancun and Playa del Carmen. It’s a Mexican business working city where prices are low and life is excellent.

6. Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo

Welcome to the Jungle! The Riviera Maya includes Cancun in the North, Playa del Carmen in the center and Tulum in the South and all points in between.

According to Bil Mabra , ” Even though the cost of living in the Riviera Maya is a bit higher than other areas of Mexico it is still way more affordable than in the United States or Canada.”

Even with the real estate market in the U.S. taking a huge dive, the properties in Riviera Maya are still cheaper. Consider buying something that is not right on the beach but possibly walking distance or a 5-10 car ride to the Caribbean ocean….Lastly, upkeep on your Mexican home will not cost you as much because the cost of labor is a fraction of what it is in other countries.

If you are retiring then a question everyone has is about health care. In the Riviera Maya there are 3 top hospitals—2 of them are run by a group from Spain called Hospiten. The other is the American Hospital in Cancun. Hospiten is recognized for being a top-notch medical facility the world over and is on par or above most health care facilities you find in the U.S. and Canada. Most of the doctors and nurses that work at Hospiten are bi-lingual so even if your Spanish is not that great you can still communicate very effectively.

It is an every day occurrence for people to migrate from the U.S. to have all types of medical procedures—everything from cosmetic surgery to heart bypasses and everything in between – done in Mexico. Compare the cost of healthcare and medications in Mexico to the cost in other countries and you will find the cost is usually more than 50% less.

The Riviera Maya climate is tropical but the actual daily temperature does not vary that much from the winter time to the summer time. Yes, summertime there is more humidity and it gets hot but typically there are only 3 months of the year where it is very hot from July to September. A lot of people take their vacations during this time if they want a little break from the heat. The other 9 months of the year it is very comfortable.

Highs in the winter time are usually around 84 degrees Fahrenheit with lows in the high 60s to low 70s. Highs in the summertime are typically around 93 to 95 degrees with more humidity in the hottest months. If you come from a colder climate it takes a few months to get acclimated but once you do it sure is nice wearing your shorts and flip-flops in January and February.

Living in the Riviera Maya also allows many people to get in and out of the country very easy. There is an international airport in Cancun servicing many major cities daily in the U.S. and Canada and another airport is now being built near Tulum. Getting to and from the Riviera Maya of Mexico has never been easier.

As far as amenities go, how about going shopping at Wal-Mart, Costco or Sam’s Club and then going to have lunch at Applebee’s? Yes, now in this area of Mexico there are mostly all the creature comforts which all of us have grown accustomed to such as high speed and wireless Internet, satellite TV and GSM mobile phones.

20 years ago, this was a small fishing community – from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. Now, because of the influx of European and Mexico City money, this area has exploded. This is good for many reason, people choosing to now move and live here, have all the necessary amenities that one could need. The beaches are some of the best in the world. Miles and miles of white sand and beautiful Caribbean warm waters.

7. Mazatlan, Sinaloa

Mazatlan is a local Mexican resort city. It is older, inexpensive, and has a wonderful older downtown with excellent cultural rustic Mexican life. Excellent seafood in this very unique resort town.

8. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco

Life in the pacific tropics is excellent in Puerto Vallarta. Lovely fun downtown, great restaurants. Prices are relatively high for Mexico and so it’s not for the budget retiree.

9. La Paz, Baja California Sur

Inexpensive city life on the Sea of Cortes near Cabo San Lucas, La Paz is a family friendly small city. It’s very hot so it’s not for those that love colder climates.

10. San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

Randy Bowser, who’s lived in Mexico for over 10 years says, ”I lived in San Cristobal de las Casa for 1 year and have to say really liked it a lot. The truest of Mexican culture exists in San Cristobal. It’s 5000ft above see level. It does have a chilly feel to the climate year round but the beauty of the area is well worth the trade-off. It’s not really a viable place to live for the younger generation but for those retiring from life and wanting a slow, relaxed, peaceful existence, then this would be the place for you. It’s a magical place.



  1. Hello there! This article could not be written any better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I most certainly will send this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  2. More americans are now living in Mexico than ever before. one and a halfe million to two million live in Mexico City. The vast majority anglo saxon types not hispanic. The majority are married to mexican nationals. Not all people who move to Mexico are retiring. Many are looking for a new home. And not just Americans. Russians, especially young russian women are arriving and looking for love in a new land. Russians are increasing so fast that their opening restaurants and russian style neighborhood stores. Ucranians and germans are also arriving. Mexicans help foreigners with their spanish and wont put you down if your pronunciation isn’t perfect. I lived in Paris and the french will actually laugh at you if your french isn’t just right.

  3. attentive subject-matter chap

  4. is the best I have found

  5. I see you don’t monetize your site, don’t waste your traffic,
    you can earn additional bucks every month because
    you’ve got hi quality content. If you want to know
    how to make extra money, search for: Mrdalekjd methods for $$$

  6. Not that it matters all that much, but the closest international airport to San Miguel de Allende is not Bajío/Guanajuato (Leon), but Querétaro. Flight originating there connect through Dallas (AA) and Houston (UAL) to other destinations. The difference is modest – QRO is about 8 km closer to the Jardin than BJX, and travel time is 15 – 20 minutes less (via the 57D Cuota), depending on traffic.

    I also quarrel with your characterization that “High desert elevation means it’s cold in winter and hot in summer.” Really? The coldest months are January and December, with average highs around 71 degrees F and lows in the mid-40s degrees F. The hottest month is May, with highs averaging 85 and lows of 57. That’s not nearly as hot as Mexico’s beach city summers, and the winter months sound like San Diego and not someplace really cold.

    You omitted the most important CON: traffic. There’s lots of it, especially on weekends. It’s awful.

  7. You can compare the cost of living of each of the communities in this article by visiting and putting in your non-Mexican city and the destinations in Mexico in this article. (Numbeo is the world’s largest database of user contributed data for about 6,657 cities worldwide)

    Below is a comparison of the cost of living in Chapala/Ajijic, Mexico with that of Toronto, Canada.
    > Rent Prices: 86% LOWER in Chapala than in Toronto
    > Restaurant Prices: 62% LOWER
    > Groceries Prices: 51% LOWER

    >Basic (Electricity, Heating, Water, Garbage) Costs for a 85m2 Apartment: 71% LOWER
    >1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans): 78% LOWER
    >Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL): 52% LOWER

    >One-way Ticket (Local Transport): 82% LOWER
    >Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff): 79% LOWER
    >Gasoline (1 liter): 0.42% LOWER

    >Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat: 65% LOWER
    >Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult: 27% LOWER

    >1-bedroom Apartment Rent Per Month: 88% LOWER
    >3-bedroom Apartment Per Month: 85% LOWER

    >Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment: 93% LOWER

    Last update: August 2017: Contributors: 686

  8. Is there a problem driving from the states to Lake Chapala? I would like to spend half the year there and the other in the states. Also, would There be ant issues to bring my dogs with me?

    • No problem driving from US to Chapala. I have done it from Canada & back more than 2 dozen times. Choice of toll roads or not all the way to Guadalajara and then down to the lake. The only issue is that you need to buy special car insurance to drive in Mexico but you can buy that in Laredo before crossing the border.

      No problem bringing your dogs either.

  9. Can anyone provide a good source for more detailed information?
    Cost of living (comparisons) –
    Real estate – rent (short/long term) and buy
    transportation – auto and plane

    visitors visa limits, expat status requirements…anything else to consider…


  10. A great big missing CON for Lake Chapala region:

    This will affect some folks utterly and others not at all. The affected folks will suffer miserably.
    Farmers for many miles around the whole enormous lake (the whole state!) burn off their fields beginning in January continuing through May. The burning often continues from dawn until midnight. Many days the sky begins the morning beautifully clear and transitions to a complete grey haze by noon. It is possible to see the burning begin. Frequently it looks like forest fires.
    Those affected by allergies to this particular pollution cocktail will cough and experience burning eyes, choking, sneezing and suffer aching misery. They are likely to feel exhausted beyond the capacity to function, although I certainly saw many working Mexicans struggling through their day. Going to sleep is miserable.
    Generally no one focuses on precisely what vegetation precipitates the allergy, but the burning seems to intensify the whole experience.
    In one giant stroke of the counter-intuitive, rural Jalisco is far more polluted (annually) by this burning than metropolitan Guadalajara itself. My pulmonologist in central Guadalajara stood me at this seventh floor window and traced the variations around the city.
    The medical treatment I received in Guadalajara was topnotch, but I would not go through another six months like those I suffered for anything. Btw, later I moved into Guadalajara to give that arrangement a try, but it was definitely not the same experience as Lake Chapala, despite the significant improvement in my allergies, and ready access to great healthcare.

    • Am I correct to understand that the person who commented on Lake Chapala air pollution moved back there after trying Guadalajara?

    • Thank you for sharing about the big burning pollution CON in the Lake Chapala region. Horrible. Is there any talk of a solution? Surely this is a health hazard to all!

    • I wish more people could give a realistic view on Mexico’s air pollution. It is the most important factor for me when visiting. Many locals don’t notice pollution in their areas, and this is the danger, as nothing will be done to solve the problems. Even places like renowned Puebla and Queretaro I had to leave these cities to escape bad air.-and I don’t have any sort of medical issue! Many thanks for you views.

  11. All you write about Chapala area is nice but you obviously have not been keeping up on crime in the area.

    Many gringos have had had home invasions and have been brutalized–and there have been murders recently too.

    Google for Chapala Crime and you will be informed better.

    • this two people make trouble for themselves ,no respect for Mexican people, if you want to live here
      you have to have respect to them, don’t show them you are better because you have more money. We live here almost four years and have many Mexican friends.


    Above was superb. I know all those places well, and cannot quarrel with any of your well researched choices.

    At most, I would make it an even dozen, or perhaps even 20 or 30, but let’s not carry it too far, although there is a Mexican Federal program to refine over 100 very pleasant, quaint “Magic Towns” all spread out through the country, that the Ministry of Tourism has appointed, and invested a big chunk of resources, to make them excel even more.

    But at least you ought to have included Queretaro, about 200 Km north of Mexico City, which ranks up there with San Miguel Allende, but at a lower cost, and with a very exciting environment for people who may still want to work, as well as Mexico City itself, one of the most exciting world class cities, with terrific museums, music, and lots, and very quiet suburban areas all quite well interconnected.

    In fact, I am in the process of developing a system to take advantage of all those huge benefits appealing to at least some of the almost 90 million baby boomers who are getting ready to retire within the next few years, but at a cost at least 50% less than it would cost them to do so in the USA, Canada, and even the EU.

    As you probably are aware, Mexico is already home to the largest number of foreign retirees in the world, rapidly closing on 2 million, and if those many have chosen to do so, why not 3 million , or even 4?

    Good luck with your website

    Thanks for your consideration,


  13. San Cristobal de las Casas is at 7200 ft not 5000 like Lake CHapala, hence the cool climate.


      • The best places in Mexico are in El Bajío, [central mexico] here you don’t see extreme temperatures, not humid, Dec. and Jan. It does drop to what someone else mentioned. I have built a home in Moreli Michoacan. Central and very close to many other nice places to visit. Lijar Pazcuaro Janitzio, Santa Clara del Cobre … close to Guanajuato . Morelia capitol of Michoacan, to travel I either drive take a first class bus out of theirvery big and new terminal (within MH walking distance to professional soccer stadium) or they also have international airport. I have flown here and quite often drive my RV here.

  14. Merida Yucatan is hot during the summer months otherwise the rest of the year has great weather, also many many other great towns you can live, IZAMAL , Valladolid and all along the coast youll find great beachtowns, like CELESTUN, SISAL, CHUBUNA PUERTO, CHELEM, CHICXULUB,TELCHAC,DZILAM BRAVO, SAN FELIPE , RIO LAGARTOS. and yes you can find great homes for rent all over the yucatan for less than 500 USD.

    • Sorry Alfonson, Merida is consistently hot and humid (think 36-38 degrees C) all year round, with mostly mild weather January-February. When you see highs and lows posted on sites, please be aware that the lows last no more than|1-2 hours around sun rise. If you like hot and humid, it offers great weather. As for hurricans, we are overdue. Fortunately for us, most storms hit the Caribbean coast before crossing the Peninsula to the state of Yucatán.
      Other than the weather and distance from the Cancun airport, Mérida is a great place to visit and live.

  15. It’s obvious that according to Kristina Morgan of Focus magazine, of her travels in Mexico……she needs to travel more prior to preparing a list of the top ten most desirable places to retire in Mexico. One that would make at least the top five by knowledgeble travelers was totally omitted from the list? Which one was it?
    It’s been a very well kept secret for many decades and we want to keep it that way.

    • Can you whisper it in my Ear, please…Live in Colorado, prev in RI and Mass…love the water too, I am 76 wife 72 . Need to reduce retire/cost so we can provide for our disabled daughter (44)

  16. I really object to this biased look concerning Ensenada, as the author of the article is evidently a realtor in Chapala.

    Cons Ensenada.

    Airport is in Tijuana about 1 hour away and San Diego International Airport is about 1 hour and 30 minutes away by car albeit, there is a border crossing that could take from 1 to 3 hours depending on time of day. (I have been across recently and its not half the wait this man says there is!).
    Anti-septic Mexican culture meaning that the culture in Baja is more close to the USA culture as it’s a mixed culture. If you’re looking for authentic rustic old Mexico, Ensenada is NOT the place to be. This is San Diego South and the people of Baja are a hybrid of Mexico and USA.
    You must have a car to get around.

    Anti-septic Mexican Culture? What kind of a biased statement is that? The author doesn’t know Tijuana, our town is a tapestry of Mexican Culture, our community has people from any southern and central States, such as Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tabasco, Guerrero, etc. Yes, the architecture and many customs at the border are nothing like Chapala, Vallarta, Tonala, Durango and Zacatecas, but we still cling to Mexican traditions.

    Unbiased look, yeah right!

    • I agree that the whole Northern Baja area (from Tijuana thru Rosarito past Ensenada) is antiseptic Mexican culture. Interesting that this article did not mention anything about the WATER SHORTAGE/DRAUGHT condition which includes the entire state of Baja and Ensenada is probably the worse place. I’ve been here 6 months and sick of dust and dirt everywhere with no rain. And it is oversaturated with Americans which means higher prices for everything.

  17. We moved to Ajijic 6 years ago
    —before buying we rented
    –surveyed people who lived here, quality of life with regards to climate—-nothing in the world like it—–do not take my word–go to National Geographic and check
    —people, must be friendliest anywhere,
    —housing, there really is something for everyone, from small casita to mansion, most have walled gardens, safety, of course our main issue, hearing about it from American television, but stats show one of the safest areas in Mexico, and far safer than urban American, Canadian cities.
    —Live theatre,
    —side of the street cart dining to 5 star gourmet, and
    —best of all, you can walk to any place, any time–just watch cobblestone streets.
    —Vegetation a paradise of colors.
    A few notes:
    —-to get a plumber to your home–or electrician—$18.00-$20.00——-and it gets fixed, that is labor costs for most jobs.
    —Maids, $4-5.00 an hour, same with gardeners.
    —Doctors will make house calls, average $20.00 for visit—–no doctors visits–at home or in office are rushed.
    —Streets are narrow—-parking in some areas tight, all part of the charm
    —as you walk out of your restaurant to see families on the sidewalks, kids playing. horses tied to a telephone pole, cooking and eating , laughing.–You smile—-be prepared to be offered a drink or tapas.

    • Charles, Thank you for your comments on Ajiijic. I have been researching that area for sometime. My husband is afraid of leaving the states (Arizona). We are both in good health and I think we could live quite nicely there. I guess I just have a true spirit of Adventure.

    • Charles -where did you live in US? Someone wrote about farmers burning crops in that area witch caused problems with pollition.

      • My husband an I flew into Puerto Vallarta for vacation a few years ago. awoke two days after arrival to the smell of smoke. the entire town was grey n reeked of smoke. i had great difficulty breathing and we cut out time short n flew home expensive lesson. Was informed it was farmers burning fields.

    • “-to get a plumber to your home–or electrician—$18.00-$20.00——-and it gets fixed, that is labor costs for most jobs.”
      If they show up at all…

      “—Streets are narrow—-parking in some areas tight, all part of the charm”
      Really? Doesn’t sound the least bit charming.

  18. I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really
    nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back down the road.

    All the best

  19. Nice answer back in return of this query with real arguments and telling everything regarding that.

  20. My new book looks at Americans and Canadians in Mexico who’ve chosen to avoid the big expat colonies in San Miguel de Allende and Lake Chapala. What they’ve found is both diverse and surprising. The book is called Into the Heart of Mexico: Expatriates Find Themselves Off the Beaten Path. There’s a sample on my website:

  21. I’d suggest that everyone RENT for at least a year, in order to really get a sense of any city they consider relocating to. As any country, Mexico has its share of problems and therefore you need to really understand all the politics and safety issues before you invest, despite what real estate sales people will tell you to make a sale.

    Renting will allow you to live there at low cost, while you discover if that particular City/Country is indeed right as a long term investment.

    • Excellent advice! This year I’m staying in a very nice apartment, but I have to walk or take a taxi . I have found a place for next year that I think will be better.

  22. ¿What about Oaxaca….? On the other hand, we’d like to keep it a secret..

  23. I grew up here in La Paz and am a child of a mixed marriage. I moved back to the USA to go to school etc, and then moved back home to La Paz to care for my aging mom. I love my home and I would not trade it for anywhere else. I live off of Social Security now. I just want to mention that it is required that you have an income of at least 1000 dollars a month in order to qualify for the Fm2 status of imigrante, and it would be next to impossible to live here for less than 500 dollars a month! La Paz is NOT cheap and neither is Cabo San Lucas, the only thing I consider cheap here are the Utilites and veggies. Everything else is either imported or shipped from the mainland. It used to be a land locked peninsula thus everything was a little more here than say the mainland. Rents under 500 dollars a month are non-existent anywhere near town. A house will cost you from 75 k to whatever you want to spend, if you want to live close. Further out cheap houses abound but are all stuck together like the old adobe cliff dwellers. To the north of us is a town called El Centenario that is nice and there are some new gated communities being built with lovely views of the ocean. The cost is over 100 k however if you compare that with the cost of a comparable home in the USA then yes you could say it is cheaper. There are lots of sites that one can access for more information. Also there is the lovely town of Todos Santos that has much better weather and less noise. A visit to any of these places would be in order first before making such a big decision. I am very happy with mine. Nice article

    • Ramona, you said you “moved back home to La Paz to care for my aging mom.”
      You are a good woman! God bless.

    • Ramona, you wrote ” it would be next to impossible to live here for less than 500 dollars a month!” and then “Rents under 500 dollars a month are non-existent anywhere near town.”

      Did you mean it would be impossible to live for less than $1,500 per month? Or were you just reffering to rental amounts?


      • Just got back from Rosarita/Ensenada area. It is no longer affordable for an average retiree. Anything even close to the ocean is over priced (for Mexico) and a decent condo starts about 1,500 a month. And I’m talking basic… nothing special. Remember this is Mexico and everything that comes with it. Mordida (bribes), lack of water, toilets you can’t put toilet paper in, roving packs of stray dogs, bad roads, high electricity bills, and theft. It is not the bargain it once was. So all of you who bought there years ago congrats but stop telling people how cheap it is so you can sell your property. $400,000 for a 2 bedroom condo is not cheap and I live in Orange County with an ocean view. I always wanted to retire in Punta Banda where my family had trailer as kids. A small run down bug infested house was $2000 a month. If anyone knows of any decent rentals in the $800 to $900 range please reply. Then I don’t mind dealing with the inconvenience that comes with Baja living. But not at California prices.

        • Check out Chapala (on Lake Chapala). It is just east of the very popular heavily ex-pat community of Ajijic and 25-30 miles south of the international airport near Guadalajara. I have a friend who lives in a 1-bedroom apt. there owned by a Mexican and is only paying $350US/mo. His previous rental was $450US/mo for a 1-bedroom on the second floor of an American owned building. Neither apt. has a lake or mountain view it should be noted. Expect to pay twice as much for that. The secret of renting in Mexico is expect to pay much much higher rents if the dwelling is owned by an American or Canadian rather than a Mexican.

          • That’s funny and true. I have a Mexican friend that calls on apartments for me. When I call and they find out I am American, the price goes way up.